Bihag ..apparently means "walk in the sky " .
One of my all time favorite ragas . Can never get enough of it .
I always think of a lavender shade when I listen to Bihag ..and to me Bihag also has the subtle scent of lavenders . So many krithis have been composed in this Raga ,though we get to hear very few in Concert circles . Maharaja Swathi Thirunal is said to have introduced this Raga to South Indian music. Papanasivan Sivan has quite a few to his credit too. I am in awe of Prof TRS and the fact that he could visualize a varnam in Bihag .. Vanajaksha . Otherwise a 'post thani ' thukkada song raga .
Like any other Dwimadhyama raga Bihag conjures up an image of an odyssey to me , albeit vocal, where the footsteps take unexpected, but smooth turns .
Someone has to actually say "saramaina maata lenthu ra tchsaalu tchsaalu ra .." when I am on a Bihag trip. But I always feel "samayamide ra saami " for Bihag.
As I Pen this , am visualizing a colorful Bihag Bouquet .( all lavender , of course ! ) that stuns me .Which one flower from the bouquet can I pick and choose to showcase its beauty .. ?
My Bihag blooms - embracing ever so benevolently, thillana's by Sri LGJ , Dr BMK . Shri MDR ..whatever be the pace- fast , slow , medium - alongside the thukaddas by Shri Papanasam Sivan , Neelakanta Sivan et all , While the Hindustani Bhajans by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal and the krithi Smara janaka Shubha Charitha peek out too and haunt me from the same bunch .
Hybrids abound in this bouquet ..what with O S Arun ’s Hari Hari rama nama nanaramara judaku ..( Bhadrachala Ramadasar krithi ) Sheepishly I would like to call this a Bihag pettai rap! Or a stylish Misra Bihag in all its modern, trendy version – but with the same lavender hues and aroma , through Nanaam akhileshanu Ghana sammuda - Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Bhajan rendered by Dr BMK .
So many Bihag buds in the bouquet .. Parama purusha by Narayana Theertar , Shree madhava vaasudevaa !- a version so beautifully rendered by Dr.Soumya capturing the essence of Bihag in all its glory only to be distracted by Aadum chidambaramo - a bhavam soaked Bihag by none other than MS Amma .
Now , yet another lovely bloom begs for my attention through a Lat uljha By Pandit Bhimsen Joshiji which exposes the other side of Bihag ! Rather the original, subtle ,lavender shades by Pandits Channulal Mishra .. Ajoy chakraborty ..Chaurasia . Ustad Alauddin Khan’s left- handed bowing of Bihag cant be left far behind either .
Ever tried a Thaanam in Bihag ? Prince Rama Varma's Veena thaanam in Bihag and aalaap immobilizes me for hours together playing in a loop . I choose to call it Alpha level meditation . Need an equally melodious Voletti garu Version to bring me back to my world.
Bihag ! Capable of taking any form ..Krithi , Javali , Padam ..and lending its scale to many moods Shringaaram , Kaarunyam , Vaatsalyam ... Can you hear Thottu , thottu pesa varaan ? By Periaswamy Thooran . Playing in my mind . Sorry! No external speaker attached L
Bihag ! Sounds even more soulful from an(y) instrument ..String or wind .
While MSG ‘s strings ties you down to the ground ..pondering “idhu dhaano thillai Sthalam” and makes you take a bow .
The wind blows you out of this world while trying to frantically search for the “ Ni sa ga ma –pa ma ga ma ga” pidi . Well nothing ‘mali”gnant here . It’s our Flute Mali sir’s prowess in a Bihag prasthaaram which makes you discover more of Bihag . More lavender than lavender . !
Am I gushing …shedding all inhibitions ? ! That’s what “Be hug” my best friend does to me . No. That was not a Typo . Feel behugged whenever I listen to an authentic Bihag.
While the colour and smell is Lavender , the feeling I associate with this Raga is that of abundance . Ironically it always , leaves me longing for more .
It has indeed taken a lot of restraint and self control to restrict this post to Carnatic songs in Bihag ..Quite a few Rafi , Kishore , Lata , KJY -numbers are waiting to pop out !
In yet another post , That !
Do listen to this whenever .. to get the feel , colour and smell of a Bihag Bouquet !